24 June 2010

Keepsake pouch for your positive pregnancy test: awesome or icky?

Hmm. According to e.p.t. (you know, the makers of those preggo tests) one of the 'most beautiful' moments in a woman's life 'occurs in the bathroom'. In a survey commissioned by the company, 67% of women said that they kept their positive pregnancy test and many women expressed the desire to have a keepsake pouch to store it in for all of eternity.

My question to you: Did you save your pregnancy test?

Click here to record your response

22 June 2010

Poor Kim, only wants to look at boobs if their her own.

Gotta love the Kardashians....

So the other day Kim tweets (above) that she's disgusted by another gal breastfeeding her baby at a restaurant. I was disappointed to read this considering her sister Kourtney recently had a baby so you would think that Kim would have been sensitive to such things.

As it turns out US magazine has been doing a poll as to whether readers agree with Kim and her ridiculous comments. Honestly, I'm amazed that almost 3000 people agree with her. Whilst the vote is split almost 50/50, I'm stunned that people still think that women need to cover up their breasts when they feed a child.

Considering the amount of skin that Kim displays as part of her 'job' of being a corporeal vessel for advertisers, it is amusing that she doesn't see that boobs are boobs whether they are feeding babies or hanging out of some skanky dress.

Looks like we all know what Kim is buying Kourtney for Christmas this year....


18 June 2010

Stop whining and 'man' up

Oh dear...it appears that men are getting a little sensitive about being 'overworked and underappreciated' for not being recognised enough for all of the hard work their doing in the domestic realm. A recent article from The Age suggests that male partners and husbands are feeling angry because they too are just as overworked as women. The article cites that a 2006 study into how Australians used their time found that men spent a combined average (over seven days) of 11.44 hours per day performing professional, childcare and domestic tasks. And women? They came in at a combined average of 11.35 hours - nine minutes less than the men.

Now, I may get slammed for this (or maybe not?) but I have to say, that I really can't feel too badly for men on this front. Whilst I think it is brilliant that men are stepping up and sharing in the domestic load with their female partners, the truth is that no one should get a gold star for cleaning the bathroom. The only reason women have been banging on about having their work recognised for so long is because WOMEN, for the bulk of human history, have been doing the caring and cleaning work for the family almost exclusively. It is only recently (I mean broadly, since the early 20th century) that women have had real opportunities to be in the paid workforce.

So what if men are doing are feeling overworked? SO THEY SHOULD.

Truth is (at least according to a new study), most men are lying about their 'work' in the household. According to an article in Slate:

"Social psychologists call this aspirational lying—the unconscious shading of the truth to make us appear smarter, more generous, and closer to the person we want to be."What you want leads to what you do. If you say you're doing more, it really is a measure of the societal change," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. "If it were not OK to be doing things with your kids and to be nurturing them— not just bringing in the money—you might lie in the other direction."

Pregnancy is almost never recognised as 'work' in itself. Ask any gal who's had kids and she will tell you that the work begins at conception and doesn't end until the kids go off to university (and even then, statistically, lots of kids are living with their parents until well into their 30s...yikes). Even without children, I still struggle with my partner when it comes to sharing the domestic load. Inevitably, I always end up doing more and I can't imagine what it would be like (and honestly, I worry about it) when we do have kids. I really struggle with this as a feminist.

Now that educated middle-class women are reaping more of the benefits of feminist movements and greater access to the paid workforce, I hardly think the time is ripe for men to 'blame' women for their achievements. I don't think any woman needs to feel guilty if the tides are turning in her favour.

Seriously, guys, if you're partner carried your child for 9 months, the least you can do is man up and do 9 more minutes a week of cleaning. Yeah, that's right. MAN UP (besides, you're probably lying about it anyway *snigger*)

17 June 2010

Japan: the best place to give birth?

Japan is one of my most favourite places to travel. After this morning, I feel a little more in love with the country upon reading an article about the increase in pregnancies among 'older' women. When I first started reading, I expected that the article would turn into a rant about why 'older' women are 'high risk' and need to be managed medically more so than other women. But then I read something that caught my eye: Japan has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world: 6 per 100,000 births (lower than the US, Britain, Finland and Canada).

Why is it so low?

Well, the picture is complicated. Much like other developed countries Japan has a technologised/medicalised approach to pregnancy and birth. Women who are 35 years + are seen as 'older' mothers. Birth choices for women are still circumscribed by the limitations placed upon them by health professionals in hospitals, however, not to the same extent as in other countries like the US.

Surprisingly, use of epidurals is much lower in Japanese hospitals. This is in part due to the more practical reality that there is a shortage of anesthetists. As you might know, the use of epidurals has been linked with an increased risk for caesarean section.

While most Japanese women give birth in hospitals, there is a small proportion of women who give birth in birth centres, called josan-in. These centres are set up like a traditional Japanese home and offer women care by a team of midwives. Centres offer maternity yoga, cooking classes for post-birth diet and nutrition counselling as well as a pool for water births.

What I found most interesting, however, was that this article, whilst couched in the language of 'women over 35 are high risk' blah blah blah, in fact, the piece ended up being about the importance of women over 35 being IN CONTROL of their pregnancies. As one obstetrician notes, the worst thing women can do is let a doctor be in control of their decision making. This is vastly different from what I perceive to be the perception of health professionals in other parts of the developed world. Women ('older' or not) are so often viewed as incapable of making decisions when it comes to birth that in a conservative environment like Japan, it is refreshing to see that obstetricians do not shove tests on women and whilst operating in a medicalised system, see the importance of women doing pregnancy and birth on their own terms.

14 June 2010

Claudia Schiffer bares all for German Vogue

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is naked and pregnant for the June issue of German Vogue. Shot by Karl Lagerfeld, the photo is reminiscent of Demi Moore's 1991 Vanity Fair cover photo taken by Annie Leibowitz. Schiffer turned 40 this year and the entire issue of the magazine is dedicated to her. She's featured in a number of 'controversial' shots in the centre spread as a pregnant nun and a dominatrix. She says:

"I’m a lot more self-confident than I used to be. To some extent I owe that to my children and my husband. I know what I’m doing and what I want. I have control over myself and that feels good.

"I’ve never hidden the fact that I used to be shy, even when I was 30. However, I might have been self-conscious on the inside, but I was never inhibited about my body. I never had a problem with stripping in front of the camera. Maybe that’s because of how I grew up. Back home we never used to knock at the bathroom door. No, I’ve never been prudish."

Schiffer gave birth last month to her third child, Cosima.

10 June 2010

Forget about buying preggo clothes: RENT THEM

If you're the kind of gal that likes the idea of designer fashion without the price tag, now you can hire boutique maternity gear from a new company that launched on Monday: Rent Maternity Wear.

Featured in the LA Times, the company has a limited collection of designer gear that you can rent starting from $35 per week. They also have lots of formal dresses which can cost up to $70 but in the end, I suppose it's cheaper than buying a formal maternity frock.

Would you hire maternity clothes?

Paula Radcliffe: pregnant and running

As an avid runner, Paula Radcliffe has always been one of my running heroines. I've written about her and running during pregnancy a number of times in the last few years. Well, she's pregnant for the second time around and the Daily Mail recently did a feature on her as she prepares for London 2012.

My girl Paula is still running 14 miles per day in her 5th month of pregnancy:

"I've been running around seven miles in about 45 minutes twice a day, combined with altitude and gravity training on a specially designed treadmill."

American marathoner Kara Goucher is also pregnant and she has been getting tips from Paula on how to proceed with training.

It is generally accepted that running in pregnancy is safe as long as you don't start running when you become pregnant or get too overheated. If you are a seasoned runner, there is no problem with keeping up your normal routines.

What worries me, however, is that in publishing her training regimen (even though Radcliffe is an elite athlete) there are still surely some women out there (who are not elite athletes) that will think that they aren't exercising enough or that they need to keep up with one of the greatest female marathoners in recent history.

What do you think? Are you proud of Paula for being a running queen? Or is it unethical to tell the world about her pregnancy training regimen?

08 June 2010

IVF mothers should not be allowed to have abortions according to one British doc

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail (Daily Fail, if you ask me), "an average of 80 abortions are carried out in England and Wales every year on IVF babies." The author, Mohamed Menabawey, is a consultant infertility specialist at the London Bridge Fertility Centre and he is apparently appalled that women who have IVF abort the foetuses that they do not want to carry. According to Menabawey, if you are desperate enough to go through the pain and effort to conceive through IVF you should be thankful that you have any foetuses at all. 'Aborting' , according to this fertility doctor, is wrong and 'social abortion' (his term, not mine) is much different to 'medical abortion' (where physical abnormality is involved).

OMG this makes me so angry!

If Menabawey is a medical doctor, I find it extremely troubling that he would moralise about the personal choices of his patients in a national newspaper. I have no problem with doctors not agreeing with abortion but I do have a problem with forcing their own beliefs on patients. Under the Hippocratic Oath, doctors agree to do no harm to their patients. Encouraging women to keep foetuses that they do not wish to carry through into a full-term pregnancy or moralising about how these women are 'bad' is harmful and frankly, if a woman chooses to go through IVF and then changes her mind in the end, THAT IS HER CHOICE.

It is stunning that in 2010 we still have highly educated professionals placing limitations on choice. Whether a women chooses to terminate a pregnancy for 'social' or 'medical' reasons is NOT the doctor's concern. Menabawey seems to suggest that his IVF patients are 'bad' women for not consulting him before choosing to terminate an IVF pregnancy!

Thumbs down, no hugs.

Reflections on blogging and the world of mothers

Every wonder how I got into this whole blogging thing? I recently wrote a reflective piece on being a feminist, blogger and pregnancy researcher for Third Space:

"The mass media is a world without footnotes, where a phone call to an 'expert' constitutes 'research' and where using academic language is your death sentence..."

Intrigued? Read on and lend me your thoughts.

07 June 2010

Bethenny Frankel: the ultimate post-baby 'skinny girl'

One of my favourite activities when I go to the US involves catching up on watching the 'Real Housewives' series. While I'm more of an Orange County kind of girl, every so often I dabble with the ladies of the New York crew. Bethenny Frankel, owner of Skinny Girl cocktails and cookbooks is now being slammed for her post-baby body which is featured in the new Us magazine. Apparently, Frankel lost 29of the 35 lbs she gained during her pregnancy in 3 weeks. Frankel had a Caesarean, five weeks early and her daughter Bryn was underweight(duh?).

The question now remains as to whether Frankel is sending a 'bad message' by being the ultimate 'skinny girl' two minutes after giving birth. This is my take: I don't think it necessarily sends a 'bad message' that women lose weight after giving birth. Some women shed weight quickly post-birth and to be honest, we have no idea how Frankel lost her weight. She is a small woman to begin with so it's entirely possible that the weight just fell off. Thus, I don't think it's fair to judge her straight away. On the other hand, given that her career as a chef has moved her into the market for diet cookbooks and various other bizarre 'skinny girl' recipes, I think it would be hard to say that Frankel isn't a little obsessed with how she looks and would probably go to great lengths to maintain her 'skinny girl' image. According to the New York Post, Frankel wrote in a blog post, "Growing up in an extremely dysfunctional and toxic series of households bred me for an obsession with food and diet and weight," Frankel wrote in a blog post on Bravo.com.

So if anything I guess I feel sorry for her. It sucks to live your life worried about what other people think of you. I hate that so many women get weighed down by all of this crap.

03 June 2010

Pregnancy = no housework. Hooray?

A new study suggests that when women do 'boring' tasks like housework,
they are 25% more likely to give birth prematurely.

Apparently, such 'mindless' chores raise their level of stress hormones.

Maybe we can see this as a great way for women to heap all of their
undeserved housework on their partners.

Or maybe this suggests that it is problematic for women to be active
during their pregnancy and that they are too fragile to move around and do

Or maybe it just means that foetuses are feminists and trying to save mum
from menial labour?

Kelly Preston: Having a baby at 47

So it appears that Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta (age 56), is pregnant AT THE AGE OF 47.

Today they have released a statement to People describing the pregnancy as a 'miracle'.

'Miracle', my arse.

Aside from all of the gay rumours circulating lately about JT, everyone with half a brain cell could probably figure out that they have probably been undergoing fertility treatments for quite some time now. As reproductive specialists suggest, it's a rarity for a woman to become pregnant on her own after age 45." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 there were 0.7 births per 1,000 women ages 45 to 49, compared with 9.9 births per 1,000 women ages 44 to 40.

As much as Celine Dion makes my skin crawl, at least the gal has had the guts to be open and honest about her age and the fact that women over 40 don't get pregnant miraculously. I mean, seriously, that's like suggesting storks drop babies on your front porch.

What do you think? Are Kelly and John too old to parents again?

01 June 2010

Celine Dion: her heart will go on x 2

Weeeelllll folks. What a long, strange two months it's been.

And what better way to re-enter the world of blogging than by posting about my favourite person in the entire world: CELINE DION.

No really, she's the devil but the lady has finally gotten herself pregnant after six attempts with IVF. And she's pregnant with TWINS.

"It's stressful but I'm relaxing. I look at my little belly. I do almost nothing," she says. "If you tell me I have to stay in bed, I will stay in bed until November, when the babies are born. To bring them into the world, there's nothing more important than that. It's incredible."

What I find interesting about the whole situation was this:

"My doctors had to constantly reassure me. I [wanted] to see the babies," she says. "Each week I had sonograms. I heard their heart beats."

Considering ultrasound still has not been proven totally safe (One or two is okay. Ten? Not so much), it is odd that she would have an ultrasound every week. It's all very Tom Cruise, if you ask me.

Anyway, glad to be back
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.